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Governor Signs Temporary Liquor Licenses Law for New York City

December 22,2021

Earlier this year, we reported that the state legislature had passed a bill that would allow the State Liquor Authority to issue temporary retail permits to applicants for new alcohol licenses in New York City. The bill's path to becoming law was complicated by several technical negotiations that took place after the bill was passed.  

We are now pleased to announce that last night, after months of discussions, Governor Hochul signed a version of the bill into law. The NYC Hospitality Alliance is proud to have played an integral role in these discussions, led by our expert teams at Yoswein New York and Pesetsky & Bookman. We are working with the SLA on the implementation timeline and the application and notice procedures for these temporary permits. We hope to update you on those details in the coming days.

 In the meantime, here is a breakdown of what the new law allows, once it is fully implemented:

  • Applicants for new beer and wine licenses in NYC will be eligible to apply for a temporary retail permit when their permanent license application is pending.  The temporary permit, which is typically issued 30-60 days after filing, will allow the applicant to sell beer and wine while theirpermanentlicense application is pending, currently taking 5-6 months.

  • The same applies for applicants for new full liquor licenses in NYC that are not subject to the 500 Foot Law.  I.e., such applicants may obtain a temporary retail permit that will allow them to sell liquor while their permanent license application is pending.

  • Applicants for new full liquor licenses in NYC that are subject to the 500 Foot Law get different treatment.  Such applicants may apply for a temporary retail permit, but there are many restrictions:
  • Only eligible if the space was previously licensed in the past 2 years, and the prior licensee's license was not suspended, canceled or revoked by SLA.
  • The permit will not be issued until after a 500 Foot Law Hearing is held and an Administrative Law Judge recommends approval of the permanent license application; a process that currently can take about 3 months.
  • The method of operation permitted by the permit will have automatic limitations, including early closing hours (the closing time for indoors shall be no later than midnight; the closing time of outdoor space shall be not later than ten o'clock p.m. Sunday through Thursday and eleven o'clock p.m. Friday and Saturday.), no outdoor music, recorded background music only indoors, and no dancing. These restrictions will be lifted once SLA issues the permanent license and replaced by whatever other restrictions were agreed to with the Community Board or imposed by the SLA Full Board.
  • This 3 month period to begin serving alcohol is compared to the approximate the 5-6 month process it now takes to get a liquor license prior to this legislation.  

“New York City‘s restaurant and nightlife industry has been devastated by the pandemic. The industry is still 100,000 jobs short compared to pre-pandemic employment levels, and thousands of eating and drinking establishments have shuttered leaving vacant storefronts throughout the five boroughs. We thank Senator Ramos and Assemblymember Dickens for championing this legislation, and we extend our deepest thanks to Governor Hochul for signing this important bill, and for her leadership in supporting our restaurant and tourism industries, from small businesses to workers. It’s a great step forward in addressing the ongoingdiscrimination built into the alcohol laws against entrepreneurs in the city of New York by allowing them to be issued temporary liquor licenses. While there’s still more work to support the vital industry, this important new law will help small businesses open up faster, put people to work sooner, bring life to vacant restaurants around the city, and stimulate the economy.” Andrew Rigie, executive director, NYC Hospitality Alliance